According to Treehugger, a recent poll reveals that one in three kids think the earth won’t exist when they grow up.

Twenty eight percent are upset that the polar bears and other animals will become extinct, and 59% of urban kids think the world won’t be as good when they grow up.

I’m not surprised, given the excess hype we see on National Geographic channel and the local news discussion shows.

What is missing, of course, is a sense of proportion.

I’m old enough to remember smog, cigarette commercials, and having the coal delivered into our basement for our coal furnace.

The dirty little secret is that if you want to afford “healthy” technology you have to have a certain amount of affluence.

It’s sort of like limiting population: as long as one third to one half of all kids die, mom won’t use the pill, but once she figures seven pregnancies means seven kids she suddenly decides that taking the pill is God’s gift to women.

Similarly, Greenpeace can pressure Manila all thy want, but until another cheap source of electricity is found, the pollution stays.

After all, the elites in Greenpeace don’t rely on cheap electricity to light a rural hut so the family can watch TV, nor do they rely on cheap propane to cook their food or cheap diesel to power their tricycle or irrigation pump.

Raise the price of electricity too high in the Philippines, and you don’t get reelected: indeed, you might even end up with riots and a reinvigorated NPA insurgency.

What’s the alternative? Windmills–except during typhoons?

Reopening the poorly designed graft ridden Bataan Nuclear Power plant?

Solar energy panals, that even we can’t afford?
Global warming is real, but a lot of those pushing it seem to see it as a religion: Sinner repent of thy sins.

But what about those who don’t sin? Will you condemn millions of Asians to poverty, overwork, illness and death because you want to save the lives of a few thousand polar bears?

Sorry, but impoverishing Asia to save the polar bear is not the way to go.

Take coal plants. City pollution due to coal plants and cars is terrible: I know: I have asthma but only use my inhaler when I travel to Manila.

And pollution causes kids and the elderly to get more lung disease, and some of them will die.

But there is no use in stopping a few deaths by eliminating coal plants if the end result is that a lot more children will die of poverty instead.

But some things make sense.

We repair and recycle everything here. It’s the way we were brought up.

So the good news is that the tree hugger article also notes that 95 percent of the kids claim their parents do recycle items.

That, my friend, is a good thing.

Let’s teach positive ways of being thrifty and not wasting things, instead of making small girls cry over the polar bears.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finestkind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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